Anything with the word “acute” can be a cause for alarm, except maybe when used like, “acute cuteness.” But honestly, when do we see that word paired with something positive? Usually, it comes with illnesses and diseases like the most common one which is acute bronchitis. Is it a deadly disease? Will you get hospitalized? How long does acute bronchitis last?
The tricky thing about diseases is that they have their own time frames. For example, a common cold will usually last for a week, and then it goes away on its own. Another one is the stomach flu; it can generally last for three days.
However, for the world of bronchitis, it is a large one. It covers viruses, bacteria, inflammation, smoke, irritants, and all that icky stuff that comes out of your nose and mouth. So, the answer concerning its time frame can also be a bit of a roller coaster ride.
With that said, in this article, we will solely focus on acute bronchitis. We will learn what it is, its causes, and symptoms. At the same time, we will discuss how long does acute bronchitis last and how you can manage it.
What is Acute Bronchitis?
For us to understand acute bronchitis better, let us first start with the basics and stick with bronchitis in general. Bronchitis is also known as a chest cold. It is a condition where there is an inflammation of the lungs. The term can also be loosely used when you suffer from coughs and colds. What happens inside your lungs is that the tubes become so inflamed that the inner lining swells and makes it hard for air to travel through.
The same linings also produce mucus, which will further clog the airways. This is actually the reason why it is so hard to breathe when you have allergies, coughs, and colds. In connection with that, the main essence of coughing is to take out that stuck mucus in the linings. Sadly, since the linings are swollen, coughing becomes more laborious.
With regards to acute bronchitis, the coughing episodes are actually the same as bronchitis, except adding the word “acute” gives a note to the possible duration of the sickness. There is also chronic bronchitis, a type of bronchitis that has a longer duration than the acute form.
The causative agent of the two can also be similar, but there is a lot. The most common ones are the viruses and bacteria that also cause colds and flu. Some other things that can cause this illness include exposure to irritants such as chemicals, fumes, household cleaners, animal feces, and air pollution. At the same time, you can get it if you are a constant smoker or if you are always exposed to smokers.
Usually, acute bronchitis comes after getting coughs or colds, but coughing might still be the first symptom of acute bronchitis. Some individuals also experience having a sore throat and runny nose that is why they often assume that they have caught flu. Some will also experience sneezing and wheezing which is also a somewhat similar symptom when you have allergies. Other general symptoms include coughs with yellow or green mucus, fatigue, congestion in the chest, back and muscle ache, chills, and fever.
It is imperative that you consult your doctor immediately when you feel the symptoms; however, we also listed some at-home care tips to help you deal with those symptoms:
- For the pain, you can take Ibuprofen.
- For a sore throat, you can use mouthwashes, menthol candies, or Naproxen.
- Drink tea or ginger as they are known to contain natural anti-inflammatory agents.
- You can also mix honey with your drinks to help soothe your cough.
- Drink a lot of water to help loosen the mucus. This will also make it easier for you to blow your nose.
- The use of a humidifier can help relax your passageways and eliminate the risk of other irritants that contributed to your illness.
- If you are wheezing, you should use an inhaler.
- Take plenty of rest to help your body recuperate from fatigue.
- Stop smoking.
- When going outside, wear a mask.
- Finish all of the prescribed medicines or antibiotics given to you by your doctor.
How Long Does Acute Bronchitis Last?
The duration of acute bronchitis will really depend on different factors. In some cases where acute bronchitis develops after the flu, the condition can last for two to three weeks. This type usually comes with a dry cough that paves the way for chest pain. You will know that this will soon be over when you start producing and spitting out mucus, which likely happens on the seventh day.
On the other hand, for people who suffer a fever early on, the condition can last in just one or two weeks. That is because the body triggered the immune system at the early stage; hence, antibodies have already been produced. With that said, people who have strong immune systems can recover from acute bronchitis in just three to 10 days. However, the cough will still be there.
With that in regard, it is important to note that if you still have the symptoms on the fourth week, you should go back to your doctor for further evaluation. If you fail to do so, it might turn into chronic bronchitis which can be lethal as it can permanently damage your lungs. This might lead to other problems like heart failure, severe respiratory problems, pneumonia, and even death. So, monitoring the days you have been suffering from acute bronchitis is important.
As can be denoted above, acute bronchitis is as common as the flu. The catch is, you really have to pay attention to how long it lasts because if it passes the three-week mark, what you have might be a different one. Just like what we discussed earlier, the causes of this sickness are common irritants, so it is up to you to be wary of what might trigger it. Further, you can help your body cope with the disease by following the tips we have given.
Nonetheless, always remember that you should not rely on pure research to cure your illness and do not self-medicate. Once you feel something is not right, go straight to your doctor.